“He [Bruce Ware] believes that the egalitarians have a problem here in terms of their inability to answer an important theological question: ‘It appears that contemporary egalitarianism is vulnerable also to this criticism. Since NOTHING IN GOD grounds the Son being the Son of the Father, and since every aspect of the Son’s earthly submission to the Father is DIVORCED ALTOGETHER FROM ANY ETERNAL RELATION that exists between the Father and Son, there simply is no reason why the Father should send the Son’” (Bruce Ware, quoted by Millard Erickson, in “Who’s Tampering With the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate.” Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009, page 42).
In “The Trinity: Good News For Women” series, I have covered quite a bit so far. We have seen Bruce Ware’s arguments, among others, for the eternal subordination for women. Here in this post, Bruce Ware poses a question: if there is no eternal submission in the Trinity of the Son and the Spirit, and if there is no hierarchy within the Trinity itself, then why does the Father send the Son?
This question makes it seem as if hierarchy and submission are the ONLY reasons why Jesus would be sent. But to emphasize these two factors downplays what Scripture has to say about why Jesus came. In truth, Jesus came to die for the sins of the world (both Jews and Gentiles). For proof, we have the following verses:
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS” (Matthew 1:21, NKJV).
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God WILL GIVE HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID. AND HE WILL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER, AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE WILL BE NO END” (Luke 1:31-33, NKJV).
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘BEHOLD! THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!’” (John 1:29, NKJV)
As is demonstrated with the verses above, Jesus’ mission was not to show “who the boss is,” or to show Jesus taking orders from the Father. The purpose of Jesus’ mission was to give His life for the sins of the world. Jesus tells us this Himself in John 6:
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; AND THE BREAD THAT I SHALL GIVE IS MY FLESH, WHICH I SHALL GIVE FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD” (John 6:48-51, NKJV).
His mission was to be Savior, which is why He was given the name “Jesus.” The name “Jesus” means “Savior.”
So, contrary to Ware’s belief, the Incarnation was not done to show submission or the authority of the Father, but rather the love of God for the world (John 3:16-17). In the same way that Abraham sacrificed his son and received him back as a foreshadowing (Hebrews 11:17-19), so the Father sacrificed His Son out of love for the world.
As I’ve shown in this post, Ware’s emphasis on submission and authority demonstrates his own perception of the Father sending Jesus. However, it isn’t supported by the biblical text. And Paul’s concern for the church as a congregation was that they mutually submit to one another, seeing the Father and Christ as the example of submission (Christ) and exaltation by the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).